By SHERWIN DE VERA
BAGUIO CITY — The Christians for National Liberation (CNL), an underground organization of church workers slammed the Duterte government for not sparing members of the religious community to its “nefarious scheme.”
Organized in February 1972, the CNL was among the original underground organizations that established the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in April 23, 1973.
Rev. Fr. Neo Padre Aglipay, probably an alias of the Fr. Nilo Valerio Unit-CNL Northern Luzon spokesperson said that President Duterte “repeatedly shown his animosity towards anyone who criticizes his dictatorial rule” including the religious sector. The statement, dated August 8, was sent via email on August 20 to the media.
He said church workers in Northern Luzon, from bishops to priests and nuns, who advocate people’s issues and support the marginalized sectors “have received and continue to get ‘courtesy calls’ and ‘visits’ from intelligence agents and armed units of the military and police.”
The United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Philippine Independent Church and the United Methodist Church in Ilocos assailed the military recently for their unannounced and frequent visits to their churches. Leaders of the denominations said these caused “fear and distressed” to their pastors, lay workers, and members.
“After ‘courtesy calls’ and ‘visits’ come the series of intimidations, harassments, slanderous propaganda, vilifications, red-tagging, illegal arrests/detentions, trumped-up charges and finally, extra-judicial killings by state forces,” said Aglipay.
According to him, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) “purposely leaked” the recent intelligence memo that circulated on social media about the possible ISIS attacks in the cities of Vigan, Laoag and Tuguegarao, and Manaoag in Pangasinan.
“Possibly, it’s a fascist ploy of the AFP-PNP to gauge public reaction or a kind of public mind conditioning to justify forthcoming intense militarization in Northern Luzon,” he said.
The CNL spokesperson was referring to the memo that came from Colonel Glenn Celebrado of the Northern Luzon Command Office of the Assistant Chief of Unified Command Staff for Intelligence dispatched on August 2. The document directed intelligence units to heighten intelligence monitoring on possible ISIS attacks.
Copy of the memo circulated on Facebook on the same day that caused public fear and heightened security measures by local governments.
Aglipay also urged the people to meet “the atrocious US-Duterte regime” with a “mighty wave of resistance.”
“The Church sector must unite with the majority of the exploited and oppressed masses to assert the moral right to struggle for genuine freedom and democracy. We should draw lessons and inspirations from the vigorous movement of the masses during the period of the US-Marcos dictatorship and solidify our ranks,” he said. # nordis.net / Photo grabbed from NDFP website